Posts Tagged ‘Deputy Minister Cheng Chang-Hsiung’

Philippine Diplomat Expresses Sorrow For Death of Fisherman From Taiwan

May 11, 2013

TAIPEI, Taiwan — The Philippines’ top envoy to Taiwan yesterday offered an apology to the family of a Taiwanese fisherman who was killed on Thursday by an official Philippine vessel while the Taiwanese boat was operating in waters claimed by both countries.

“We’d like to convey our sincerest condolences and apologies to the family of Mr. Hung,” Antonio Basilio, the Philippines’ de facto ambassador to Taiwan said at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA).

Antonio Basilio, Manila's envoy to Taiwan. (Photo/CNA)

Antonio Basilio, Manila’s envoy to Taiwan. (Photo/CNA)

“Words cannot express our sorrow for the loss of life of Mr. Hung,” he added.

Basilio said that his government will continue to investigate the circumstances that led to the “tragic incident.”

The Philippines welcomes a joint investigation led by law enforcement authorities to establish the location of the incident and the circumstances that led to the tragedy, the envoy added.

“Should the investigation show that there was a violation of international law and practice … as well as our domestic law, we will let the law takes its course so that justice will be served,” Basilio said.

Basilio, head of the Manila Economic and Cultural Office (MECO) in Taipei, made the remarks in front of reporters at MOFA headquarters, following his meeting with Deputy Foreign Minister Joseph Shih (石定).

Retired military officers to meet mainland's top brass

Philippine coast guard chief Rear Admiral Rodolfo Isorena, right, gestures as he speaks at a news conference as Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources chief Asis Perez, left, looks on in Manila on Friday, May 10, (AP/AFP/CNA)

The envoy was summoned by the MOFA to explain Manila’s stance on the matter — one day after Taiwan issued stern condemnation over the incident that led to the death of local fisherman Hung Shih-cheng (洪石成).

The 65-year-old crew member was shot dead by personnel on board an official Philippine vessel, while the local boat — the Kuang Ta Hsing No. 28 (廣大興28號) — was operating some 170 nautical miles off the southern coast of Taiwan, an area that is claimed by both Taipei and Manila, according to MOFA.

Hung’s son, son-in-law and an Indonesian fisherman were also on board when the shots were fired.

Kuang Ta Hsing No. 28 is currently being towed back to Taiwan with the help of two other fishing boats under the escort of the Coast Guard Administration (CGA), the ministry said.

MOFA has confirmed that the Philippine vessel responsible for the shooting belongs to the country’s Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR), said Foreign Minister David Lin (林永樂), adding that Philippine coast guards aboard the BFAR vessel had fired the ship’s weapons.

“We believe the Philippine government should take full responsibility (over the incident) by issuing an official apology to Taiwan, (by identifying) those responsible and (by compensating) for the losses,” the minister said.

According to Taiwan’s representative to the Philippines, Raymond Wang (王樂生), however, Philippine authorities claimed that the Taiwanese vessel was sailing in their territory and that the BFAR vessel had simply fired warning shots.

In response, Lin said that Kuang Ta Hsing No. 28 was sailing in overlapping waters, stressing that the Philippine vessel should not have opened fire on an unarmed Taiwanese boat under any circumstance.

The Philippine authorities have agreed to send personnel to Taiwan to jointly probe the cause of the tragedy, he added.

Thirty-two Bullet Holes

Coast Guard Administration (CGA) Deputy Minister Cheng Chang-Hsiung said that the shooting left a total of 32 bullet holes in the Taiwanese ship.

Taiwanese fisherman Hung Shih-cheng, 65, was killed at sea aboard this boat by Philippine coast guard sailors  in disputed waters, Thursday, May 9, 2013.  (Liuqiu Fishermen’s Assn. / EPA / May 10, 2013)

“The CGA condemns the brutal act on the Philippines’ part (which caused) the death of a Taiwanese fisherman,” Cheng said.

The Taiwanese vessel is expected to be brought back to Taiwan before noon on Saturday, the deputy minister said, adding that once it returns to the island, prosecutors will immediately conduct an examination of the boat and interview its crew members.

For the safety of Taiwanese fishermen operating in the South China Sea, the CGA will be sending more vessels equipped with artillery to safeguard the rights of local ships operating in the region, he added.

The fundamental reason behind the tragedy is the lack of a fishery agreement between Taipei and Manila with regard to their overlapping waters, Lin noted.

The government will negotiate with its Philippines counterpart to sign a fishery agreement similar to the one signed between Taiwan and Japan last month to fundamentally solve the problem, he added.

Meanwhile, the ministry said that it has sent its staff to convey condolences to Hung’s family in Pingtung County and offered the family NT$50,000 in its time of grief.

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The representative of the Philippines to Taiwan, Antonio Basilio, apologized on Friday to the family of a Taiwanese fisherman shot dead a day earlier by a Philippine government vessel.

“We’d like to convey our sincerest condolences and apologies to the family” of the Taiwanese fisherman, Basilio told the local media after he was summoned to meet Taiwan’s deputy foreign minister Joseph Shih.

Hung Shih-cheng, 65, was shot dead by a member of the Philippine coast guard on Thursday morning, when the Taiwanese boat was operating some 170 nautical miles off the southern coast of Taiwan, the ministry said.

“Words cannot express our sorrow for the loss of Mr Hung’s life,” Basilio said.

The Philippines has begun investigating the circumstances that led to the tragic incident, and it welcomes a joint investigation by law enforcement authorities from the two sides to establish the location of the incident and what led to the shooting, he said.

“Should the investigation show there was a violation of international law and practice, and as well as our domestic law, we will let the law takes its course so that justice will be served,” he said.

Basilio said the Philippines cherishes the ties between the people of Taiwan and the Philippines. “We don’t want an incident like this to harm that relationship,” he said.

Foreign minister David Lin said earlier Friday that he was angered by the actions of the Philippine Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources vessel, which also had coast guard personnel on board.

The ministry will demand that the government of the Philippines issue an official apology for the incident, Lin said.

The ministry issued a statement Thursday condemning the shooting, which occurred when the fishing boat was operating in waters in the overlapping economic zones of the two countries.

Lin also said the ministry has conveyed its condolences to the family of the deceased Taiwanese man.

Hung’s son, son-in-law and an Indonesian fisherman were also on board when the shots were fired, according to a fishermen’s association in Pingtung county in southern Taiwan, where Hung was from.

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